Dear New WRR Student, 

We are happy to have you join our lesson program! Please read the following FAQs and email us with any other questions.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?  We ride outside whenever possible, so dress as for an outdoor sport. For tips on riding apparel, see What to wear.  

WHAT HORSE WILL I RIDE?  We try to keep you on the same horse for the whole session. Check the Session Roster on the website for your horse assignment.  If you are having problems with the horse assigned you, please let us know. We may change your horse when a new session begins. Riding a variety of horses challenges and improves riding skills faster than staying with the same horse session after session.  

WHAT TIME SHOULD I ARRIVE? Arrive at the first class 15 minutes early, and to remaining classes 30-45 minutes early to get your horse ready. Please do not bring your horse in more than 45 minutes before class. New students will receive help with finding their horse and learning to groom and tack.

WHEN CAN I GET ON MY HORSE? After you have shown in class that you can get on unassisted and control the horse, you can get on 10 minutes before class time. During this warm- up time, ride at the walk only.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER CLASS? Riders are responsible for removing tack, putting all tack away properly, grooming lightly if needed, putting all grooming supplies away, putting the horse out, and putting away the halter and lead rope. During grazing season, students should check the white board to see if their horse is listed to go out on a pasture instead of the paddock. Riders are expected to be finished 15 minutes after class.

IS CLASS HELD EVERY WEEK? The classes may not be held every week. For class dates; see the Session Calendar.

IS CLASS CANCELLED WHEN THE WEATHER IS BAD? Classes are cancelled only due to extreme temperatures (below actual 0 degrees or above 96 degrees) or extreme weather events. Messages will be posted on the website and an email will be sent at least two hours prior to class and/or we may call you.

WHAT IF I MISS A CLASS? If you have to miss a class, please email us as soon you know. That way we can make the horse available to someone else. A makeup may not be possible and we do not provide refunds. For our complete policy on missed lessons, please see the Lesson Policies. (Attendance during the first week of classes is strongly encouraged since much of the material is not repeated in subsequent classes). 

HOW DO I RE-REGISTER? First, check the the Session Calendar for the payment deadline. You don't need to fill out registration forms again -- just leave payment in the barn office (brass box) noting the day and time you want. Your same spot is reserved in the next session if you pay by the deadline. We email a reminder about the next session registration deadline and announce it in class. Feel free to send your check even earlier; we do not cash lesson checks until the deadline. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHILE MY CHILD IS RIDING? It's fine to drop your child off and pick up after class. (Woodbury and Afton shops are close by). But if you would like to help your child get on or handle the horse, please come into the arena. Do not hold on to the horse from the aisle. Please do not stand at the gate into the paddock or in the aisle near the tack area where horses come in and out. You are welcome to watch the class or wait in the office (heated in winter) or outside (sometimes we have chairs set up), or in your car. Help with picking up manure in the indoor arena is always appreciated!!

CAN I BRING OTHER CHILDREN WITH ME?  For safety reasons, all non-riding children under 13 years of age must have adult supervision at all times. Children may not be left unattended in our office, parking lot, or barn areas.  Do not bring non-riding children with you if you plan to help a student groom, tack or get on her horse. Please keep non-riding children away from the tack and gate area where horses come in and out of the barn. This area is for riding students only. The barn aisle may also have horses tied up or coming and going, so it is not a good place for young children.

CAN I GIVE MY HORSE AND OTHER HORSES TREATS? Giving a horse treats at inappropriate times can spoil it and encourage biting and pushy behavior. If you have never fed a horse a treat, please ask Mark in class how to properly do that. You may bring carrots, apples, sugar cubes or other commercial horse treats and/or you may ask if you can give your horse a handful of grain after riding. Do not bring treats in plastic bags. We do not allow plastic bags to be brought into the barn because horses will eat them. Please only feed treats to your horse and only when your horse is in the barn and unbridled. Please do not feed treats in the paddock or at the gate to the paddock where horses become dangerously pushy.

CAN I GIVE YOUR DOGS TREATS? No thank you. To protect their health and behavior we are careful with their diet.

HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT RIDING AND GET THE MOST OUT OF CLASS?  Ask questions in class and ask for help during class! Also, read as much as possible on the subject of riding and equitation. Here is Mark's Syllabus on the website. It's a good source for thinking of questions to ask. "Learn Horseback Riding in a Weekend" by Mary Gordon Watson is an excellent choice for beginners. The Susan E. Harris "Manual of Horsemanship" series is also a must-read for riders at all levels.  If you join the Windy Ridge Riders Horse Club, you can borrow these and other books and videos from the club's extensive library.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW? When you arrive, check for messages on the white board in our barn office related to recent horse health issues and ranch activities. Keep up to date with ranch information by checking our website. Our main communication is via email.

IS THERE A PHONE IN THE BARN? The cordless phone in the barn office on the window sill can be used to make outgoing calls, but it does not receive calls. But it only works near the entrance gate by the parking lot (the base antenna is in the house). Emergency phone numbers are posted on the small bulletin board next to the door. If we need to reach a family member of a student in case of emergency, we will try all phone numbers listed on the student's registration form.

We look forward to having you in our lesson program! Please feel free to e-mail us with questions.

Mark Ward & Katie Clapp
markward@windyridgeranch.com